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Our Commitment to Transparency

Assessment of Foundation Performance

The Center for Effective Philanthropy, an independent nonprofit research group, conducts a grantee survey about our grantmaking process, communications, and overall impact. It generates a Grantee Perception Report every three years. The last three of these reports can be found here:

2016 Grantee Perception Report
2013 Grantee Perception Report
2010 Grantee Perception Report

Board Governance

As a family foundation, McKnight is governed by a board of up to 12 that includes directors who are descendants of the founders as well as community (i.e., non-family) directors. In identifying new community board members, McKnight’s board considers prospective directors’ skills and experience, as well as how those skills will complement expertise already on the board. Community members serve three-year terms; a one-year hiatus is required after three terms in a row.

The board of directors has chartered five committees to assist it in fulfilling its duties: Audit/Finance Committee (annual audit, financial review), Executive Committee (support for chair, annual president’s review, and critical action between board meetings), Governance Committee (board composition and effectiveness), Investment Committee (budget, investment, fiduciary matters), and Mission Investing Committee (impact investing opportunities, MDIs, and PRIs).

Compensation Philosophy

The McKnight Foundation aims to maintain a consistent, fair, and competitive total compensation program that attracts, and retains a highly qualified staff to advance the mission of the Foundation. The Foundation uses compensation and benefit data from private foundations with asset size in a reasonable proximity to the assets of McKnight as benchmark organizations.

Conflict of Interest Policy

While the Foundation acknowledges that potential conflicts of interest may occur from time to time, we make every effort to manage them through full disclosure. Among other procedures, all McKnight board and staff members are required to complete a Conflict of Interest Statement every year. The Conflict of Interest Statement identifies relationships that may lead to an actual or perceived personal or grantmaking conflict.

Diversity Commitment

The McKnight Foundation is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values.  

Diversity: We appreciate and leverage our differences; and we involve and reflect the communities we serve.

Equity: We align our policies, practices, and resources so that people of all races, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses have genuine opportunities to thrive.

Inclusion: We create an environment in which everyone feels valued and respected.

This commitment is critical to deepening our relevance, credibility, and effectiveness, and it will strengthen our efforts to improve the lives of present and future generations. The civic and economic vitality of our home state of Minnesota, known as Mni Sota Makoce by the Dakota, depends on inclusive and equitable opportunities for everyone.

Read the full statement.

Financial Information

McKnight’s most recent financial statements, annual audit, and tax information can be found here.

Investment Policy

McKnight’s Investment Policy Statement is available here.

Whistleblower Procedures

McKnight has systems in place for employees to raise issues through internal channels and via a confidential hotline.

Here is an excerpt from our Employee Handbook on how we handle whistleblower procedures:

The McKnight Foundation is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity, and accountability.

An important aspect of accountability and transparency is a mechanism to enable you and other employees to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into effect in 1999, gives legal protection to employees against being dismissed or penalized by their employers as a result of publicly disclosing certain serious concerns It should be emphasized that this policy is intended to assist individuals who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety. It is not designed to question financial or business decisions taken by the Foundation nor should it be used to reconsider any matters which have already been addressed under harassment, complaint, disciplinary, or other procedures. We ask that you voice your complaint internally and give the Foundation a chance to address it.

To receive a copy of the full excerpt, contact our human resources generalist. 

Transparent and Accountable
Along with more than 90 other foundations, the McKnight Foundation is part of the Glasspockets Initiative, which champions greater openness from the field of philanthropy. Here, we present our governance policies and practices.